And A Nightingale Sang – 5 stars

Less in MORE theatre company, Middlesbrough Theatre. Glasgow-born playwright CP Taylor had a long-standing relationship with Live Theatre in Newcastle, with many of his plays first performed there. ‘And A Nightingale Sang’ began life in the 1970s as an oral-history project commissioned by Live, first performed there in 1978, set in and around Eldon Square … Continue reading And A Nightingale Sang – 5 stars

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Yes Prime Minister – 3 stars

People's Theatre, Newcastle. The original BBC series’ ‘Yes, Minister’ and ‘Yes, Prime Minister’ are widely considered as genuine comedy classics, and so a brand new up-to-date stage version was greatly anticipated when it first opened at the Chichester Festival Theatre in 2010, subsequently embarking upon a West End run and a national tour the following … Continue reading Yes Prime Minister – 3 stars

Much Ado About Nothing – 5 stars

People's Theatre, Newcastle. In his programme notes, director Tony Childs writes: “It's easy to see how Much Ado About Nothing is one of Shakespeare's best loved comedies”, and The People's production of it is everything a Shakespeare comedy should be: clever, witty, stylish, and very funny. The pace never lets up for a moment. The … Continue reading Much Ado About Nothing – 5 stars

The Next Train To Depart – 4 stars

Live Theatre, Newcastle. John Challis's poetic play about a chance meeting on a railway concourse between a call centre worker and a would-be poet is the first of three Bitesize plays produced by Queen's Hall Arts playing at Live Theatre. The production is a perfect blend of poetry and theatre, with the writing succeeding in … Continue reading The Next Train To Depart – 4 stars

Charley’s Aunt – 3 stars

People's Theatre, Newcastle. This classic 1892 farce by Brandon Thomas broke all records when it was first produced, running in London for four years (1,466 performances) and making a star of its original 'Charley's Aunt', comic actor W.S. Penley. It has been revived and revisited ever since, by both amateur and professional companies around the … Continue reading Charley’s Aunt – 3 stars

The Killing of Sister George – 4 stars

People's Theatre, Newcastle. I'm often very wary of plays from the 60's - particularly ones which, at the time, were lauded for being ground breaking and daring but, with the passage of time, now run the risk of just appearing dated, tame and dreary. But in today's climate where the BBC are under constant criticism … Continue reading The Killing of Sister George – 4 stars

Dad’s Army – 4 stars

People's Theatre, Newcastle. The People's respectful recreation of this classic BBC sit-com gets it right on pretty much every level. From the first moment there's a palpable buzz of anticipation from the audience, as an air-raid siren reverberates around the theatre, Captain Mainwaring and his men march through the auditorium, and the unmistakable voice of … Continue reading Dad’s Army – 4 stars

Quick Bright Things – 3 stars

People's Theatre, Newcastle. This play, by resident writer Alison Carr, is a response to the RSC's 'Open Stages' project, which invited non-professional companies to stage a play around Shakespeare in a 'different' way. It looks at the story of the lovers from A Midsummer Night's Dream - particularly Helena. The play - a promenade performance … Continue reading Quick Bright Things – 3 stars

The Crucible – 3 stars

Nice Swan Theatre Company, Newcastle. After working on many productions as assistant director, Jane Hutchinson gets to take the reins with this classic Arthur Miller play, and puts a Nice Swan stamp on it from the very beginning. An eerie opening gives way to a captivating contemporary dance sequence, showing the witches cavorting in the … Continue reading The Crucible – 3 stars

A Streetcar Named Desire – 3 stars

Nice Swan Theatre Company, Newcastle. After three successful years producing some challenging musicals, Nice Swan now turn their attention to a double bill of straight plays, the first of which is this one. Director Lewis Pilton tackles the play with an assured confidence. His ideas are clear and well executed, and his staging is simple … Continue reading A Streetcar Named Desire – 3 stars